'Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X' castaway Rachel Ako voted off her Gen-X Tribe
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/22/2016
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X castaway Rachel Ako was voted off her Takali (Gen-X) Tribe during Wednesday night's premiere broadcast on CBS.
Rachel, a 37-year-old recruiting director from Los Angeles, CA, became the first castaway voted out of Season 33 on Night 4 at the game's first Tribal Council session. The Gen X tribe had to vote one of their members off due to losing the first Immunity Challenge.
"Survivor is one of the most difficult and brutal social games on the planet. However, I'm happy for the experience and I hope to utilize it to grow as a person. It's a lot harder to survive the conditions than it probably appears on TV, but for most of it, I actually had a lot, a lot of fun," Rachel said following her ouster.
The Survivor broadcast began with host Jeff Probst explaining the two tribes would be separated by age: Millennials ages 18-31 (born between 1984 and 1997) vs. Gen X ages 33-52 (born between 1963 and 1982).
The game's 20 castaways arrived via boat to the Fiji island, picked their buffs and then learned of this season's theme. Jeff said the tribes have different philosophies on life, so we'll find out which generation is better suited for Survivor.
The "Vanua" (Millennials) Tribe was comprised of Michaela Bradshaw, a 25-year-old in vacation club sales from Fort Worth, TX; Michelle Schubert, a 28-year-old missionary recruiter from Yakima, WA; Jessica "Figgy" Figueroa, a 23-year-old bartender from Nashville, TN; Adam Klein, a 25-year-old homeless shelter manager from San Francisco, CA; Hannah Shapiro, a 24-year-old barista from West Hollywood, CA; Zeke Smith, a 28-year-old asset manager from Brooklyn, NY; Justin "Jay" Starrett, a 27-year-old real estate agent from Fort Lauderdale, FL; Taylor Stocker, a 24-year-old ski instructor from Post Falls, ID; Mari Takahashi, a 31-year-old professional gamer from Los Angeles, CA; and Will Wahl, an 18-year-old high school student from Long Valley, NJ.
The "Takali" (Gen X) Tribe consisted of Rachel; Sunday Burquest, a 45-year-old youth pastor from Ostego, MN; Chris Hammons, a 38-year-old trial lawyer from Moore, OK; Lucy Huang, a 42-year-old dietitian from Diamond Bar, CA; Bret LaBelle, a 42-year-old police sergeant from Dedham, MA; Jessica Lewis, a 37-year-old assistant district attorney from Voorheesville, NY; Ken McNickle, a 33-year-old model from Denver, CO; Ciandre "CeCe" Taylor, a 39-year-old insurance adjuster from Granada Hills, CA; Paul Wachter, a 52-year-old boat mechanic from Sugarloaf Key, FL; and David Wright, a 42-year-old television writer from Sherman Oaks, CA.
Jeff Probst revealed Will, a high school student, is the youngest person in the cast and also the youngest castaway to ever play Survivor. Paul, on the Gen X tribe, was the oldest of everyone. When asked what being a Gen Xer means, Paul joked that only winners received trophies, referring to how millennials often receive participation awards for effort. CeCe also bashed the millennials, saying they don't work hard for anything.
Scattered in the jungle were items -- in trees, at the base of trees and more -- which would help the tribes over the next 39 days, and they had short-term and long-term value. Each tribe could choose one item at each of two stations, leaving the other one behind.
One example was pots and utensils vs. a hammer. Another example was chickens vs. fishing gear. The millennials picked the chickens, but the Gen Xers believed the fishing gear would be vital throughout the whole game.
During her search, Jessica Lewis found an envelope and grabbed it. She stuffed it in her shorts and planned to read it later. Each tribe then received a map, and before heading off to their beach destinations, Jeff warned them about it being cyclone season.
Although they were in a lull, another big storm was brewing, so Jeff said they needed to build their shelters immediately. On Day 1, the Gen Xers got right to work, but the millennials took their time and even went for a swim.
At millennials' camp, Mari said no one had a regular job and she thought it was amazing. She assumed their perspective on everything would be "a huge advantage" in the game. Taylor connected with a fellow bro, Jay, and Figgy because she was "pretty darn cute." Taylor admitted Michelle was pretty too.
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Zeke noticed he was on a tribe "with children" when he basically belonged in a Miami retirement community.
At Gen X's camp, Paul expected his tribe to have good core values, strong opinions and sound decision-making, but Ken warned everyone not to underestimate their enemy because the millennials use their minds when the Gen Xers are used to working with their hands.
Ken led the shelter plans but in a non-aggressive way since he pretty much lived simply on an island for years.
Jessica then opened her envelope and learned she had found the "Legacy Advantage," a new twist which will give her an advantage on Day 36 if she's still around. If she got voted out of the game before then, she could give the advantage to someone else.
Meanwhile, Figgy on the millennials' tribe confessed she's "a flirty girl" who's good at manipulating people. She hoped for $1 million and a husband on Survivor. Jay, Figgy and Taylor were tight together. Figgy thought Taylor was "so attractive," and then the trio brought Michelle in. Jay also thought Michelle was "super hot."
But Hannah was nervous looking at all "the beautiful faces in Kappa Kappa Survivor." Michelle, however, earned trust from Hannah.
At Gen X, the tribe thought Rachel was "over eager" and therefore kind of annoying. David complained about how he didn't like the sun, water or bugs -- he just enjoyed the gameplay aspect of Survivor. Bret said David needed to man up because the women on millennials' tribe had more testosterone than him.
David, paranoid as hell, warned Bret and Chris that Ken and Paul had found a hidden Immunity Idol because they were hiding something in their hands. David thought the scene was very suspicious. Chris told the cameras Dave was trying way too hard but he was also funny and charming at times.
Back at millennials' camp, their shelter was lacking, but everyone thought it was going to be okay. Once night fell, they rushed around to finish it because it was clear rain was coming. The young players admitted it was the "worst shelter ever built" on Survivor.
And then the rain came. The tribe was breaking down as the castaways shook, all wet and cold. Hannah said it was like God was punishing them for not building a shelter.
On Day 2, Gen X was better off than the millennials, but they were still hurting from the rain. Jeff Probst sent both tribes a tarp, which showed Chris the weather was going to be unlike anything they could prepare for.
But it wasn't long until Jeff approached both tribes and told them the storm had "upgraded" in the last few hours to a cyclone. For the first time in Survivor history, producers evacuated both tribes, their personal belongings and brought them somewhere safe via boat to wait out the worst of the storm.
On Day 3, the two tribes returned to their decimated camps. A big tree even fell onto Gen X's shelter, so if the castaways had been inside it, someone could've gotten seriously injured. CeCe said it was "a saving grace" they got evacuated.
Dave was anxious about being on the chopping block because he was self-proclaimed weak and neurotic. He didn't think there was much hope for him in the game, so he went off looking for a hidden Immunity Idol, and his tribe noticed. Paul said "he'd have to be an idiot" to do that, while Jessica noted it upset a lot of people.
"If we lose, it's going to be David," Jessica told the cameras.
Meanwhile, Zeke was emerging as the leader of the millennials against all odds. Zeke was proving to everyone he was tough, and he was the first person to get a fire started. Zeke was excited to reach his potential on Survivor.
At this point, there was a clear division between "the cool kids and the misfits," as Hannah put it, or the "freaks and geeks," as Mari put it. Mari wanted to spread word of the four popular kids in order to start taking them out. Michelle, Figgy, Taylor and Jay didn't hide their bond at all.
On Day 4, the Takali and Vanua tribes met Jeff for the season's first Immunity Challenge and returned their tarps.
Each tribe was required to make choices that would help them in the front-end or back-end of the challenge. They had to race under an obstacle, retrieve war clubs, cross through a rope tunnel -- or use a short cut -- cross a long balance beam -- or use a shortcut -- carry a crate to the finish and then use the pieces inside of the crate to solve a big puzzle.
The catch? Every time a tribe chose to use a shortcut, 10 more pieces would be added to the puzzle. Jeff suggested if a tribe feels it's good at puzzles, they should take advantage of the shortcuts. It was all about the strengths and weaknesses of the tribes.
The Gen Xers surprising used both shortcuts, while the millennials took advantage only of the balance-beam shortcut. Dave and Rachel worked on the puzzle for Gen X and wasted a lot of time, so two castaways needed to step in and take over. Figgy and Michelle did a great job on the puzzle and finished it quickly. As a result, the millennials won immunity and flint, which they didn't even need.
Chris said the challenge was "a disaster" for his tribe and the two people who worked on the puzzle were going to be in trouble come Tribal Council.
After the Immunity Challenge, Bret was shocked the Gen Xers lost. He admitted the millennials were quick and sharp. Rachel had insisted to her tribe that puzzles were "her thing," so since she messed it up, she was on the chopping block.
Jessica said her tribe should vote Rachel out but there was fear of a hidden Immunity Idol already. David assumed no one trusted him and he'd be the first person voted out of the game. David therefore promised loyalty to Bret's alliance in attempt to stay and promised he "100 percent" didn't have an idol.
Jessica confronted David about there being "chatter" he had found an idol, but David confessed he had gotten paranoid and went looking for one but came up empty. Bret still believed David had an idol in his possession, but he also called Rachel "a liability."
Since it was a toss-up between David and Rachel, Bret talked to Paul and Chris about splitting the vote.
Rachel and CeCe felt they were on the outs of all discussions taking place, so they figured they were targets already. When Rachel would ask someone a question, he or she would be unresponsive and indecisive, and she knew that wasn't good. Ken and Dave were also on the outside of the developing majority alliance.
At Tribal Council on Day 4, Jessica wasn't looking good. She told Jeff that when the storm hit, sand flew into her eye and caused a bacterial infection in one eye, which then passed to her other eye.
Dave told Jeff he was grateful for the experience and might be going home. Jeff called him out for giving up already, but Dave insisted he wanted to stay and he was his own worst enemy.
In attempt to save herself, Rachel addressed the tribe and apologized for being so upfront with everyone. Rachel knew she could be abrasive at times, and she told everyone that it was never her attention to be rude or mean. Rachel wanted to repair her relationship with everyone going forward.
It then became time to vote someone out of the game. Jeff revealed the votes in the following order: Dave, Rachel, Sunday, CeCe, Rachel, CeCe, Rachel, CeCe, Rachel, and Rachel.
The episode's closing credits later showed that CeCe voted for Dave; Rachel voted for Sunday; Jessica, Lucy and Sunday voted for CeCe; and Paul, Chris, Ken, Bret and Dave voted to oust Rachel from Survivor. About The Author:Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.